Apocalypse Next Week

Mayan Calendar
Mayan Calendar (Photo credit: Michael Kwan (Freelancer))

Holy Christmas Mania, Batman! Has it really been nearly an entire month since I blogged?!?!

Why, yes, it has.

I know you’ve all been clamoring for new insights from me into how to avoid zombies when the apocalypse happens next Friday, but I have to tell you — it’s probably not going to be a Zombie Apocalypse. I know. I was disappointed too. All the time I’ve spent watching that damned zombie soap opera, The Walking Dead, trying to learn how to handle a katana in case I need to start lopping off heads next weekend and it turns out — no zombies in the Mayan Apocalypse! [No I don’t watch it all the time. The zombies are too comical and the guys are too busy alternating between whining and trying to out-macho each other. Also because it really IS a zombie soap opera. But I love me some Michonne. She should have her own superhero comic. She’s almost up there with my girl, Wonder Woman. But I digress.]


Unlike a George Romero-esque zombie apocalypse, the Mayan Apocalypse sounds more and more like some spacey, New Agey Aquarius thing. True, maybe we’ll get hit by an asteroid and all die. Or maybe we’ll all just wake up and have some big collective revelation about how stupid it is to kill one another over boundaries and religion and nothing at all, and how pointless it is to trash this planet when it’s the only one we’ve got, and even how equally stupid it is to NOT be spending more time exploring other planets so that we can finally build a zombie-free colony on Mars or maybe even a planet orbitting Alpha Centauri. (The advantage of the latter is that if I moved to that colony, I would probably no longer be expected to spend major holidays with the in-laws.)

So my main advice for you regarding next week’s Apocalypse is: Be optimistic. The word “apocalypse” actually comes from a Greek word that means “to uncover or reveal.” So as it turns out, it’s not really about endings at all. Just about cleaning house and making a fresh start.

But just in case I’m wrong (it does happen), make sure to stock up on canned goods. Remember, as Susan Beth Pfeffer has pointed out in her brilliant Moon Trilogy, Progresso soup is better than Campbell’s in an Apocalypse because you don’t need to add water. And don’t forget a manual can opener. That pesky electrical grid might get kind of wonky after next Friday.

You won’t be hearing from me for awhile. I’ll be away for the holidays, then I’ll be recovering from the holidays, then I’ll be adjusting to post-apocalypse living. Plus there’s this freaking book I need to finish writing. Two books, really. Because after I finish [start] The Monaco Mission, I’m seriously considering writing a chick lit apocalypse novel. What do you think of the title Zombies and Margaritas?

In the meantime, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and may a wonderful, zombie-free 2013 be yours!


Getting Real

You know, taking a part-time receptionist job in a real estate office seemed like it would be easy, but that’s because I was assuming that people still have manners and that our instantaneous, multi-tasking mad society hadn’t rendered them all into blithering idiots in the space of just twenty years (the last time I was a receptionist).

Why the hell would you – a real estate agent from another office – call this office and say, “I got a call from your office, but I don’t know who called me.”

Duh. Neither do I, sister. There are 75 agents in this office, three loan agents, a branch vice-president, three receptionists, two office administrators and a nocturnal computer geek who shows up for five minutes once a week, crashes all the computers, and then goes home to play World of Warcraft.

If you don’t friggin’ know who you’re doing business with in this office, I sure as hell don’t.

Why would you dial a number and then say, “I got a voicemail message from this number, but I don’t know what it was about because I didn’t bother to listen to it.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes! That really happened!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was all, Whatty McWhat? Are you seriously calling ME to ask what the message is on YOUR voicemail? Because if you are, clearly you are not understanding how this voicemail thingy works, dude.

Or maybe you understand perfectly well how voicemail works but you are “too busy” to actually listen to yours? Clearly, you are angling to be the first up against the wall when the revolution comesBecause talk like that is going to get you there, and I will be happy to lead the firing squad.

And last but not least – Why would you call a real estate office while you are driving around in an unfamiliar area and say, “I saw a house with one of your signs on it and I’d like to make an appointment to see it. But I don’t know what street it’s on and I’m new around here so I’m not even entirely sure what town I’m in right now.”

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921
Einstein in Vienna in 1921. He probably parked his car first. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Here’s a thought, Einstein. PARK THE DAMN CAR. Ask someone where you are. Get out and look at a street sign. Or if you are so high-tech that you can dial an unfamiliar number while driving, I bet you own a GPS. Click that button that says “My Location” or “Locate me.” GO ON, TRY IT!

Wow, isn’t that stupendous? Now you know where you are. Now you can say, “I’m interested in the house on Sputnik Street in Cowtown.”

Now I might be able to help you!

Although I suspect there is no help for you or any of the people I’ve talked to this week. I suspect we’re all just becoming plugged-in cogs in The Matrix, incapable of rational thought, deliberate decision-making skills, and simple common sense. Maybe we will all deserve exactly what we’re going to get when the Mayan Apocalypse comes in December.

But more about that next time.

Will Canadian Zombies Be More Polite Than Other Zombies?

Because, you know, Canadians are always so darned polite. And cheerful and clean too! And good looking. See?

Canadian actor Nathan Fillion

Oh, wait. I’m getting distracted again, aren’t I?

So why my interest in Canadian zombies today, you ask?

Because The Girls’ Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse reports that the Canadian government is preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse. For those of you too lazy to click on the link, I’ll summarize. The Canadian government says a Zombie Apocalypse is unlikely, but you should prepare for one anyway because then you will be truly ready for anything.

I quote: “The threat of zombie attack is a popular phenomenon around the globe and with it comes the message to “be prepared”. Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides, avalanches, interface fires, severe storms and hazardous material spills are some of the dangers that could threaten lives and cause extensive damage in British Columbia. And while the chance of zombies a-knockin’ on your door is pretty slim, we do believe that if you’re ready for zombies, you’re ready for any disaster.”

This is so true, because I can’t think of ANY disaster in which a flamethrower, lots of bottled water, and a cute little dog with a backpack won’t come in handy.

To be clear, the Canadian government does NOT include the flamethrower or the dog on their list of Zombie Preparedness Essentials (or ZPE’s, because I’m sure that any government smart enough to come up with a zombie preparedness plan is also smart enough to develop an acronym for it too). Their list does include things like a first aid kit and a large flashlight. The flashlight could work for a while since I’m sure many Zombies hate and fear the Light. Also if it’s big and heavy, you could use it in close-quarters zombie combat scenarios.

For those who like to be prepared, additional zombie-fighting items can be found here and here. And if you really want to get ready for the inevitable, I hear there’s now a Zombie Fighting Boot Camp available.

It worries me a little that both the Girls’ Guide to the Apocalypse and the Zombie Fighting Boot Camp are UK based. Do they and the Canadians know something we Americans don’t? Are the Canadians and the Brits planning to use a Zombie Apocalypse Event to become the new (or I guess old) world power?

Because the American government is sure not worried about Zombies. The CDC says so, and they wouldn’t lie. Would they?

The Zombie Thing Again

Found this buried in one of my albums on Facebook.


I tried canning once, but it was hot and messy and then I kept worrying that I didn’t do it right and the food would kill us when we finally ate it. So when the zombies do come (which will be soon, I just know it), I’ll have to stock up on Campbell’s Soup and make sure I have a good manual can opener.

Zombies and Ferris Wheels, or More Irrational Fears

So Castle is apparently tapping into my brain while I sleep and basing their episodes on all my not-so-secret fears. Or somebody there is reading my blog! How cool would that be??? Whoever it is, tell Nathan I said, “Captain.” He’ll know what I mean.

But now, about this tapping into my secret fears thing: not so cool! First there was the car underwater episode. And now, ZOMBIES. WTF?! I thought this was a cop show? Shouldn’t there be more — I don’t know, bank robberies or something? Well, I guess not. Because you guys know that an awful lot of people watching your show are secretly sci-fi geeks like myself who are still upset about Firefly‘s untimely death and would watch anything with Nathan Fillion in it.

In keeping with that knowledge, this week’s episode of Castle was all about “zombie walking,” which sounds like some sort of live-action face-to-face version of Urban Dead. It was actually a pretty fun episode, zombie makeup and all, but it was a disturbing coincidence after that car underwater episode. If the next episode involves Beckett getting trapped on a Ferris wheel or having a fatal car accident due to a sneezing fit, I’ll know they really ARE reading my blog.

Just in case they are reading my blog, here’s some other irrational fears they might want to use in the show. Consider this post the Executive Summary on My Irrational Fears.

Irrational Fear #3

There is no ride in an amusement park more terrifying than a Ferris wheel, folks. Because you’re stuck in that little gondola (or if it’s enclosed, you’re pretty much in a glass cage) and then they strand you at the TOP for, like, forever. At least, that’s how it feels to me. Or felt to me. I haven’t been on one in over twenty years, and I’m not going on one, even if you give me enough money to pay off my credit cards. Which is a whole insane lot of money. On second thought, maybe I would get on a Ferris wheel for that much. I think I’d have to be drunk first, though. And it would have to be, like, a kiddie Ferris wheel. Not this. And definitely not this. And positively not THIS:

Irrational Fear #2

Sneezing fit on highway causes me to veer into oncoming traffic and I die horribly. If you have allergies like I do, this isn’t even all that irrational. Considering how many articles I found on the Internet about this very thing happening to people, it may in fact be a serious safety issue that should be addressed by the President as soon as possible. Way more dangerous than all those French fries Michelle Obama does not want us to eat! Case (or cases) in point:

Sneezing Fit Reportedly Causes Fatal Accident

Sneezing Fit Causes Fatal Crash

There are more, lots more. In fact, I was just kidding around about this being a major fear UNTIL I googled it. Then I really became afraid. Maybe that’s what we should all really fear: the power of Google to help us discover whole new neuroses with the mere click of a button.

Irrational Fear #1

If you’ve read my other posts, you already know what I’m going to say. And of course, the fear of being one of the “normals” who survive a zombie apocalypse only to have zombies feast on my living flesh is clearly the MOST irrational of all fears, right? I mean, it could never really happen in a million years. Right?! RIGHT?!?!?!

Zombie Virus Possible Via Rabies-Flu Hybrid — That’s from National Geographic, folks! Not the freaking National Enquirer!

And then there’s this:

Could Scientists Create a Zombie Apocalypse Virus?

Not so funny now, is it, Rick Castle? And for the rest of you — stockpile the bottled water and sharpen your machete NOW!

Irrational Fears – Or Are They? – Part One

Couldn’t sleep a few nights ago due to a massive allergy attack that had me sneezing like someone who’d snorted a line of pollen-infused cocaine. So, like any normal person with insomnia, I started channel surfing. And there was Jake Weber! I love Jake Weber! And he was in danger!!! How could I leave Jake when he was in danger?! And then there was a dog!!! A cute scruffy little dog carrying a little backpack! And it was in danger too!!! How could I leave Jake and the little dog with the backpack?!

Those of you who watch a lot of Syfy (you know, the thing that used to be the SciFi Network) are no doubt laughing at me by now. You probably knew as soon as I mentioned the dog with the backpack what I had gotten myself into, but I did not. It was one of the things I dread most in the entire world: a zombie movie.  And not just any Zombie movie. It was Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead. I have never made it through an entire zombie movie in my life, but my mind was addled by the antihistamines and the lack of sleep, so by God, I stuck with it. At some point, it also became a personal quest, a challenge to myself: Can I in fact make it through a zombie movie without barfing or crying or both?

Well, I’m here to tell you I did it. It was a bigger challenge than running a 5K, which I did a few years ago when I was in a lot better shape physically. Jake died tragically but nobly, watching the sunrise. The little dog, who eventually became the real reason I stuck with the thing, made it to the end of the movie and then disappeared into a jungle full of zombies. But the director had already established that Zombies didn’t eat dogs in his universe, so I was okay with that. I figured eventually the little dog would meet another little dog and they would have a little doggie family and establish a new doggie dynasty. Eventually they would evolve and become the dominant race on the planet and wipe out the Zombies. But even with the happy fiction I had created in my mind for the little dog, I was up for the rest of the night checking the locks and worrying about zombies. Because I truly do fear being eaten by zombies.

This was the second thing on TV in a week to tap into one of my greatest irrational fears. The other, believe it or not, was an episode of Castle. I love Nathan Fillion even more than Jake Weber, but Castle  has been looking pretty tired lately. Nonetheless, I keep watching because of Captain Tightpants himself, Nathan. Unfortunately, Nathan and his slightly annoying female cop sidekick wound up in a car that went underwater in the episode I recently watched. That traumatized me for days. Because being trapped in a car underwater is another one of my irrational fears.

I decided that I should make a list of my irrational fears and do some Internet research into just how irrational they are. The results were NOT reassuring. I’ll share those with you in my next post.

Captain Trips

I’m standing in the post office and the guy behind me is having a fit. There’s no one at the desk and he’s in a hurry. I say, “I rang the little bell, someone should be out shortly.” This is a small town/rural post office where we actually know the folks who work there and don’t hate them for being Federal employees. They seem to work hard and they’re friendly and one even thinks he’s a stand-up comic.

“Is it the stand-up comic guy working today?” the man behind me asks. And then he does a dramatic shiver. Comedy Guy has never made me shiver.

“I’m not sure who it is today,” I say. I repeat that I rang the bell and someone should be out shortly.

“I can’t wait long,” the man behind me says. “I feel awful.” He gives another big shiver, and I realize he’s not shivering because he’s afraid of Comedy Postal Guy. He’s got chills.

He says, “I don’t know what happened, man. I was at work and I felt fine and then all of a sudden I got these awful chills and my bones ache –”

I smile a tight polite smile. “Really?” I say. “That’s just terrible.”

Inside I’m shrieking: What the hell are you doing in the damn Post Office then?! Get away from me!

I begin to suspect the postal worker on duty is in back monitoring the video feed of what’s going on in the lobby and is now deliberately not coming out. And I don’t blame him or her.

“I keep getting the shakes, too,” the guy behind me says. “It’s like I’ve got DT’s. I mean, I never had them, but it’s what I think it would be like. You know?”

AGH! No! No, I don’t know! And I don’t want to know! Get away from me! Oh dear Lord, did I touch anything he touched?! DID I?!

“Maybe you should just go home and come back here when you feel better,” I say out loud.

“Can’t,” he mutters, and he reaches past me and starts banging on the little bell.

Oh my God, I touched that bell! Do I have his germs? No, wait, I touched it first, so I’m okay. Calm down. Breathe. 

And then the worst thought comes into my head: We live near a huge military installation, where all manner of deadly things are tested. And at least half the people in this county work there. I ask him where he works, and of course, he mentions the name of that very military installation.

ACK!!! CAPTAIN TRIPS! CAPTAIN TRIPS! I gotta get out of here! No, it’s worse than that! Why does he NEED to be in the post office if he’s this sick?! Oh holy crap, it’s not The Stand – it’s Twelve Monkeys!!! “The thing mutates! We live underground! The world belongs to the dogs and cats now!”

And as the Comedy Postal Guy comes out from the back of the post office, I shout, “I just remembered somewhere else I have to be!” And I run out of the post office and pour most of a bottle of hand sanitizer all over my hands when I get to the car.

Only after I get home does it occur to me that the guy behind me might’ve just wanted to get ahead of me in line and made up the whole thing. He and Comedy Postal Guy are probably still laughing.